Blessed Be Thy Feet, Supplement B: Pedicure for the Sole

Our dead cells not only contain the physical memories of the time they were a part of our bodies via the DNA of which they are made, but they also contain a psychic memory.  Both positive and negative emotions, memories, and energy are stored in dead cells, particularly dead skin and nail cells.  The dead skin on the soles of our feet probably store the most psychic build up.  To combat this, treat your feet to a magical pedicure.  If possible, do this with a partner so that you can fully relax (and then return the favor).  However, this is also a good solitary ritual.
Set up a relaxing ritual space in an area where you will be able to soak your feet.  Call in your deities and elementals as you would for any other ritual.  Breathe deeply, and at each step of the ritual make sure to think about your intent.
If you do not already have pedicure items, visit your local pharmacy or dollar store.  Ritual tools, in this case pedicure items, should not be expensive.   If your budget is super limited, only get nail clippers, a nail file, and clear fingernail polish.  If you have a little bit more money, invest in a foot file, pumice stone, or a Pediegg.
Step 1–Removing negativity
Start by clipping your toe nails.  As you clip, say one thing for each nail that you are letting go of.  After you’re done, collect the pairings and save them to bury after the ritual.  There are many traditions about what to do with nail pairings, but giving them back to the Earth keeps them out of the wrong hands and is easy.  Plus, the earth is a good neutralizing element for the negativity you are removing from your life.  Then file your toe nails.  As you do this, focus on how you can file away any rough edges in yourself that may be getting snagged on the fabric of your life.  Finally, take your Pediegg (or you can use your nail file in a pinch), and file away the dead skin on your soles in counterclockwise circles.  In most traditions, widdershins or counterclockwise is the direction for banishing.  Think about removing all the negativity that your feet may have accumulated as the dead cells are filed away.  If you wish, you can chant. 
Step 2–Healing
In a large basin or other foot soaking vessel, prepare a foot soak.  The easiest foot soak is warm water with Epsom salts.  However, any salt will do.  Don’t spend money on this step.  Just use what you have in your kitchen.  Salt and mint is a good revitalizing foot soak.  Salt and rosemary or tea tree oil is an excellent anti fungal soak.  Salt and oatmeal is good for soothing itchy skin.   Be creative and experiment. Don’t be afraid to use aromatherapy.  As you soak your feet, meditate on healing any ailments you are experiencing physically as well as emotionally/spiritually.  Envision the warmth from the soak moving up your body to heal and strengthen you.  Finish this step by rubbing lotion on your feet.  Any lotion that you want to use will work (if you don’t have lotion, you can use cooking oil, butter, or Crisco).  Rub the lotion on the top and bottom of your feet in a clockwise or deosil motion since you are attracting healing into your life.
Step 3–Attracting Magic
Now comes the fun part.  Using color magic, choose the color of nail polish that will help you attract the good things you want/need in your life.  If you need money, choose green.  If you are a student, choose yellow.  If you are not really into nail polish or you can only afford to buy one shade, go with clear.  Just like a white candle or a quartz crystal, clear nail polish can be used to represent any color.  As you paint each toe, envision yourself walking towards what you want to attract to your life.  If you are looking for money, see yourself walking into work and later walking into a bank to deposit the money.  
To end the ritual, give thanks to your Deities and close up your circle.  Once your nails dry, don’t forget to bury your nail pairings.

Blessed Be Thy Feet, Part 3, Section B–2: My Ironic Flight

If you have not read “Blessed Be Thy Feet, Part 3, Section B” please do so now:
http://barbedpentacle.blogspot.com/2012/01/blessed-be-thy-feet-part-3-section-b.html

Head scarf I wore, English version of the Qur’an, and prayer beads

As many of you know who read this blog on a regular basis, during the course of my research on feet in religion, I was invited to attend Friday prayers at the Islamic Center of Charlotte.  I cashed in that invitation on Friday.  I thought I had been invited to the evening prayer, but Friday morning at 7:20 on the dot, I was informed that it was noon prayers that I was to come to.  So, being a good journalist, I arrived early to look around a bit.  Because I arrived early, my escort was not ready, and I entered the building through the front door when I should have gone in the side entrance.  That was the first faux pas of my little adventure.  I was also informed at 7:20 to wear loose pants and to bring a scarf.  Thankfully my intuition told me to wear long sleeves, but I should have hunted up a tunic and the fanciest, biggest scarf I could find.  Once the ladies started to arrive, I felt very under-dressed, both in terms of coverage and glitz.

The center looks like any other place of worship built with in the last twenty years, except that it has a small minaret attached instead of a steeple, and it is enclosed by a privacy fence with barbed wire on top and a security gate.  Cameras constantly watch you, inside the building and out, and shoplifting mirrors are mounted in the ceiling corners of the hall ways.  I’m not sure if that’s for security or to insure separation of the sexes.

Since I had arrived early, Hadji Muhammad, the secretary (maybe?) who had invited me, instructed me to sit on a chair in the hallway in a segregated part of the building.  He handed me a bottle of water and said, “Now you put on your scarf” and disappeared back to his office.  The scarf that I put on turned out to be really plain compared to what the other ladies wore, but I had chosen it because sometimes I wear it as lingerie and it gave me a thrill to wear such a sexually charged item in a such a sexually austere place.  When the ladies started to arrive, I realized that I should have pinned my hair up.  NOBODY in my section of the center had any hair showing.

While I was waiting and waiting and waiting, I pieced together that not only should I have come in the side door that lead directly to the place where I was now but that I was in the woman’s section of the building.  Both the front door and the side door had tall racks for folks to put their shoes on.  In my section, there was a door that lead to a kitchen, a bathroom, a prayer room door, and a door that said “Store”.  Women with babies were instructed by different signs in Arabic and English to use the prayer space in the store.  The store, as it turns out, is a little room with no prayer space that sells female Islamic prayer clothes–but no burquas.
I decided to go into the bathroom, and snapped this photo:

This is where the women wash their feet before entering the prayer room.

Finally a woman walked in, the first one that I had seen since I had arrived and introduced herself as Fifi.  I thought she was to be the escort that Hadji  Muhammad promised me at 7:20 AM, but it turned out that she wasn’t.  She told me to take off my shoes and to come into the prayer room.
“Why do we take off our shoes?” I asked.
“Because we worship on the carpet.” Fifi replied.
“Do I need to wash up first?”  I asked.
“That’s for only if you pray,” she responded.
“But, I’d like to pray, if that’s OK.”
“No. No, today you sit and watch and learn.”

I was ushered into the prayer room and instructed to sit in one of the chairs that lined the wall.  Another lady sat next to me, very close.  Then an older lady came in and sat down up close to me on the other side.  Islam, I learned, is a touchy-feeley religion.  I introduced myself to both women, and they smiled.  They talked some to each other over me in Arabic.  Everybody spoke Arabic but me.  Then they started to read their Qur’ans that were in fancy Arabic calligraphy with flowers and vines bordering the pages.  They, and all the other ladies, would mumble the scriptures just under their breaths.  Nobody explained it, but I gathered it was important that the scripture be said and not read in your head.

The ladies’ prayer room is a large plain carpeted room with chairs along the walls, a book shelf full of Qur’ans  and other religious texts, and lines taped to the floor.  These were prayer lines.  When you prayed, you had to stand on the line or you were doing it wrong, just like in gym class.  In the corner diagonal from the door is a flat screen TV mounted to the wall and a line of chairs in front of it.  The TV shows closed circuit coverage of the “pulpit” and the back of the heads of the men in the next room over.  The chairs are for the old ladies who no longer can sit on the floor.

When the women would come into the room, they would make the rounds shaking hands and saying “As-Salāmu `Alaykumor “Peace unto you.”  The younger women had painted finger nails, but the old ladies had hennaed finger and toe nails. One of the ladies who was reading her Qur’an noticed that I seem to be left out of things, so she thrust into my hands Woman in Islam the Myth and the Reality by Dr. Sherif Al-Sheha.  I looked through the book looking for pictures, like maybe of a dreamy Omar Sharif type guy, but instead I came upon two passages that informed me that if my husband invites me to bed for his pleasure and I deny him, that all the angels in Heaven will curse my name until the next morning, and another passage that instructed me that I was not to teach my daughters how to dance for the purposes of corruption.

Betty Page dancing for corruption

As the prayer room started to fill up and ladies and small children were silently praying and reading, Hadji Muhammad made another appearance.  There was lots of talk in Arabic and pointing and gesturing.
“You come now,” he told me, and I was pawned off on a lady whom he told me was in charge of all the women’s activities at the Center.  After arguing with Hadji for several minutes about some misinformation spread on Facebook about youth programs, she ushered me into the store and told me to sit down.  No item, according to the price list on the wall, was more than $20, which was hard to believe considering how heavily embroidered and spangled most of the clothes were.  I suspect that list was not comprehensive.  The head  lady was very nice but soon became busy playing shopkeeper.  Hadji popped up again and handed me an English Qur’an with a promise to reappear with the “Message” written out for me in English.  Everybody  really wanted me to stay for the “Message” which the “Sheikh” would give soon.  Instead, Hadji came back with Ahlam and never reappeared.  Ahlam was the escort Hadji had promised.

Ahlam is an older middle-aged real estate broker who likes to wear heels.  She came to prayers with her daughter (who had made her own prayer clothes) and her grandson.  While her daughter went on into the prayer room, we put our shoes back on and went out side, where a few of the women were frying food to sell after prayers.

“Islam is a religion of practicality,” Ahlam explained.  ”Our scriptures tell us how best to do everything in our lives.”  According to Ahlam, Muslims wash before prayers not so much to wash away physical dirt, but to wash away metaphysical dirt and negative energies.  The act is a way to let go of everyday worries,  and it helps the devout to get in the right mindset to communicate with Allah.  It sounded a lot like sympathetic magic and meditation to me.  She then explained that although women were somewhat segregated in Islam, a lot of segregation was a bid for equality.  The sexes, according to her, are segregated during prayers so that people are not distracted by the opposite sex bending and kneeling.  Considering the submissive vulnerability that some of their prayer gestures and positions suggest, I could see her point.

Everybody was called to prayers by a singsong voice blaring from the minaret.  As we walked back inside and removed our shoes, I asked if I needed to wash up.  ”No” was again the response.  Ahlam and I sat on the floor on one of the taped lines beside her daughter and grandson and the main event began.  The older lady who sat beside me earlier once again sat beside me, and Fifi sat on the line in front of me.

The service started with a solo prayer.  The prayers that were said aloud were all recited in a singsong tone, like a person lining out a hymn.  They were also all in Arabic.  Then the Sheikh delivered the “Message”–in Arabic.  From watching him on the closed circuit television, he looked a lot like a minister–reading some scripture and then preaching on it.  Then, with no warning, the Sheikh started speaking English.  I’m not sure if he was repeating what he had said in Arabic in English or if this was just the English half of the “Message”.  In English he preached about how good Muslims need to show the world how nice they are, how they need to be nice, generous, and friendly to new converts, and how they need to extend hospitality to visitors.  Yeah, I know.  I’m not sure if the content of the “Message” was coincidental or if it was said specifically because I was there.

The chanter sang something in Arabic, and Ahlam whispered, “We’re going to pray now.  You can go and sit over there.”
“I’d like to pray too, if it’s OK.” I whispered back.  She smiled and nodded.
The chanter then lead a call and response prayer, which I didn’t know the response to.  I’m not sure what all we prayed for, but I’m pretty sure Libya was in there.  I distinctly heard “Libya” a couple of times.  Then everybody said something that sounded like a hum or a buzz.

After the call and response prayer, it was time for the active prayer.  As the chanter sang different things, we would stand up, kneel, hold our hands palm up, touch our heads to the floor and then repeat and repeat.  Sometimes we hummed again, almost like an “Om,” and sometimes we said “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is Great.”  Prayers were nice and somewhat fulfilling.  At various times I felt like I was presenting myself to a Dom for inspection or a like a cat in heat waiting to be mounted, but given my relationship with Deity, I don’t think those feelings were inappropriate.


After the active prayers, everybody shook hands with each other and said “As-Salāmu `Alaykum”.  As things wound down, announcements for the Center were read and the ladies did individual silent prayers.  I wanted to ask Ahlam about the meaning of the prayer gestures, but she handed me her card and rushed off.  Perhaps I’ll email her.


Despite being constantly told where to sit, everybody was very nice and polite.  Everybody was even nicer after the “Message.”  The older lady who was always sitting next to me even gave me her prayer beads.  ”I have another pair at home just like these,” she kept insisting.  


Leaving the Center was a nightmare.  The traffic was like the parking lot of a stadium after a concert.  I finally got out of the security gate and had a nice lunch of spicy pork and fried rice with Mistress Marmot.  


I never saw any women wash their feet, and I never got to wash my feet.

Wonder if he’d wash my feet?



*You can get all the free Islamic books you want at www.freequran.com.

Blessed Be Thy Feet, Part 3, Section A: Wash my tired feet!

I first encountered the act of foot washing in a religious/ritual context several years ago at a wedding.  The couple was Pagan, but for various familial reasons, they had a Christian ceremony led by one of those “New Age” ministers.  I think she might of been Methodist.  You know the type.  A lot of times they are women.  Sometimes they wear a robe, sometimes not.  Their stoles are usually of some sort of African or other tribal design that they acquired in a “fair trade” arrangement during a mission trip, and they rarely mention Jesus or God as masculine.  The groom was seated while the bride knelt on a pillow and washed the groom’s feet from a basin of water.  Then she rubbed some lavender oil onto them, and then symbolically dried them with her hair.  To finish that segment of the ceremony (because it was a long ceremony), she dried his feet for real with a towel.  The minister, as a prelude to the washing, read from Luke 7:37-39:

When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,/Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them./When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.”“ 
[The image of the woman washing Jesus' feet with her tears and drying them with her hair has always fascinated me and has become my ideal act of submission.] 
I forget exactly how the minister linked this act to marriage, since I’m sure she was progressive enough that the vows didn’t say “obey”.  However, there are a multitude of ways that this tableau can be worked into a handfasting, initiation, or as a visible sign of submission to your deities via a statue or someone who is aspecting.

There is another passage in the New Testament that deals with foot washing.  
 1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
   Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:1-17)

These verses are the basis for many Christian denominations to practice footwashing from time to time as a special service.  Some these denominations are Pentecostals, Mormon, Catholics, Methodists, and Presbyterians.  Many of these churches incorporate the practice into their Maundy Thursday service, when the Last Supper is traditionally celebrated.  This custom could easily be incorporated into Pagan ritual.  It would be an excellent way for the balance of power to be re-calibrated in a group that has undergone some strife.  It could also be used to show gratitude or solidarity.
The Pope washing the feet of his cardinals
To find out more about what the Mormon church calls “The Ordinance of Footwashing”, I set out to interview some Mormons.  The Mormons have gone high tech since the last time I dealt with them.  They now have Mormon Chat, which is good because the quality of their call center personnel has gone down dramatically.  The woman I spoke to barely spoke English and sounded like a recent convert.
Here is the chat that I had with “Austin” (I assume he’s Elder Austin):



Welcome to Missionary Chat.
Thank you for your interest in talking to a missionary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The purpose of Mormon.org chat is to answer basic questions about the church and its beliefs and to provide opportunities to learn more.
Before we begin, will you share a little about what brought you to chat with us?
A missionary will be with you shortly.
Agent [Austin] is ready to assist you.
Agent [John] has joined the chat.
Austin: How can we help you?
Austin: :)
Me: I am doing a comparative study on the practice of foot washing, and I have some questions.
Austin: okay
Me: I’ve read through different things, but I’m still having trouble piecing together in my mind exactly how the ordinance of foot washing is practiced.  Is there anything special to it or is a basin brought out and the washing begins?
Austin: I have no clue.  Do you have any questions about our beliefs?
Me: Oh my.  I’ve called the hotline twice and kind of gotten the same answer.  On your website (I’ll have to hunt down where), it says that Joseph Smith (I think) set up the ordinance to go along with Jesus’ washing of feet at the Last Supper.
Me: So I’m guessing by your response and the others that I’ve gotten that it’s not a widely practiced thing.
Austin: Right.  I’ve never heard of it being performed in a religious way since Christ did so, but I did just find the page you’re talking about and I’ll read up on it as soon as possible.  Is this the page?  http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/journal-1835%E2%80%931836
Me: Yeah I think so.
Austin: Okay I’ll read that as soon as I can :) Are there any other questions?
Me: No, that’s it.  Thanks!  I really appreciate the help.
Austin: No problem :) Have a good day and God bless :)
Me: You too!  Blessed Be!
Agent [John] has left the chat.
The chat session has ended.
Remember, Jesus and I love you! (I couldn’t resist.)
As soon as Austin gets back to me, I’ll post another section to part 3.  Part 3, section B will be about the Muslim practice of footwashing, which is somewhat different from the Christian practice.


Blessed Be Thy Feet, Part 2: Rubbing Lotion on My Lotus Feet and Krishna’s dusty toes

Lord Krishna’s Lotus Feet

 

From a Hare Krishna blog:

“The dust of Krishna’s Lotus Feet can also give devotional service. Somehow or other we must go after the dust on Krishna’s Lotus Feet!
‘So how is it attained?’
It may be attained in serving the deity. In the Nectar of Devotion Book, it is said that one of the form of deity worship is that the pujari must touch the Lotus Feet of the Lord, while he is on the altar. So that is a prescribed duty of worship. It is a nice prescribed duty where you have to touch the Lotus Feet of the Lord. It’s there in the scripture. So in that way pujari service is quite special – there’s no doubt about it!……..That devotees must bow down to Krishna, and such a devotee that bows down attracts the mercy of Krishna. In other words, it is through humility that one attracts the mercy of Krishna. So in the concept of the dust of the Lotus Feet of the Lord is a concept of humility.”
Lotus Feet are a curious thing.  Hare Krishnas are curious people.  It’s been really hard to find a definition of lotus feet or somebody who was willing to talk to me about lotus feet.  I guess collecting the dust off of an idol’s feet is hard work.
According to a website that I found, Lotus feet are really too wonderful to explain with mere words.  They’re just too sublime.  However, the lotus, and by extension the lotus feet and the feet of any deity, spiritual teacher, or statue or either, represents spiritual development, creation, purity, and rebirth.  Some what like the Cauldron of Cerridwen, I suppose.  As was discussed in Part 1, devotion to a person’s feet is often seen as a sign of humility, and the same is the case here.  This is a continuation of the Hindu practice of Pranama, except somewhat more elaborate.  According to the site, “communion with the divine is established.”  This tradition could easily be adapted into Pagan practice before a ritual or while invoking deity to establish that link.  While the touching is going on, names of the deities are often recited or chanted.  Once again, that’s not much different from how some Pagans invoke deity.
That website author also says, “that the spiritual master plants his lotus feet in the heart of the disciple. Sincere spiritual students are encouraged to enshrine God’s lotus feet or enshrine the lotus feet of the master within their heart.”   That sounds like a boot on the back of the neck to me!  It’s a gentler form of the D/S dichotomy that has been previously discussed.  Worshipping Lotus feet can also absolve you of any Karmic debt as well as bring your soul to a higher plane of consciousness.  “In the act of falling at the lotus feet, touching the lotus feet, gazing upon the lotus feet or surrendering to the lotus feet, the ego can be subdued in favor of a higher state of awareness.”  In essence, you’re putting a collar around your ego so that you’ll attain enlightenment.

   
How are Lotus Feet worshipped?  They are sometimes painted with henna or paint, bejeweled, rubbed down with oil, smothered in flowers, and given offerings of rice.  These things can all be done to a statue’s feet at any time in ritual, or they can be done by someone representing or aspecting deity.  They can also be taken out of a traditional ritual context and be done to someone who is acting as a living statue or to someone’s Dom/me or lover.  It would be a very touching ritual to add to a handfasting or wedding ceremony, especially if the couple reciprocated, as in the pictures above.
What about the funky symbols?  These symbols are representative of different divine aspects of the feet owner–a visual representation of the divine light that supposedly shines forth from their soul and third eye.  The conch shell represents succor.  The crescent moon represents soothing cool light and blessings.  The thunderbolt represents karma.  Symbols from your own tradition can easily be substituted.  These can be painted or hennaed onto the “living” deity’s feet or, for the really brave, the symbols can be more permanent.
A lotus blossom
Honey also comes into play with Lotus feet (yes, I’m thinking that sweet thought too!).  Honey is viewed the world over as a holy and sacred food by many religions.  The same is true with the Hare Krishnas.  Lotus honey, also called Padma-madhu, is said to heal practically everything (which is true of all honey), but particularly eye problems.  By eating Padma-madhu, your spiritual sight can be revitalized and cleared. With this tradition in mind, a ritual for spiritual guidance can be created around any type of honey–perhaps licked off of your own honey!
I finally got somebody to answer the phone at Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold.  Sue, the receptionist, said that basically the concept of Lotus Feet is the desire to walk in a great person’s or presence’s footsteps. (Thanks so much Sue…..)
Buddah’s Foot Print in Singapore
Part 3 will be coming soon.  Before you walk away, chant this Buddist Mantra so that anything you may step on with your Lotus feet will be reborn quickly:  om kraytsara ghana hung hri soha.

Blessed be thy feet: Part 1–A little tickle

Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways…..

Feet.  Most people have them.  Some people love them, some people hate them, and some people fetishize them.  Quentin Terentino loves Uma Thurman’s feet.  Watch Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill movies again and count how many times the camera has a tight shot of her feet.  Feet take us everywhere.  They can bring us pleasure and they can bring us pain.  They can be lavished and spoiled, or punished and tortured.  They can symbolize dominance, like a foot on the back of the neck, or they can symbolize submission, like bowing to kiss someone’s feet.  Feet carry us on secular paths and religious paths, often both at the same time.
The next series of blogs was suggested and inspired by two of my readers.  The series will look at how different religions, not just Pagan ones, incorporate feet into their worship, deities associated with feet, the Eathwalking/barefoot movement in the US, and some of the grittier, kinkier things that can be done with feet.  As always, along the way, tie-ins will be made to Paganism and how to incorporate this topic into your personal religious practice (and maybe other practices too).
***********************************************************************************
Hinduism
From a Hindu forum:
“ In the image, the sole of one foot of the Goddess is visible,
apparently decorated with Mendhi, beautiful designs. I thought that it
was an insult to display the sole of one’s foot. Is that only true for
the Islamic population? Is there an exception for Goddesses or other
deities? Am I misreading the image, perhaps?”
“Every part of the Great Goddess Durga is Sacred! Haha It may be a little

distasteful to rub your own dirty feet on someone else or point them from a
cultural standpoint. From the point of Divinity it changes though. In fact,
many temples to the Goddess and Vishnu amongst others have only an image of
the deities feet. The idea is that to gaze upon the whole figure would be to
overpowering.
There is a Hindu custom of touching the Gurus feet or even placing your head
at the Gurus feet as a sign of reverence. The idea is simply that you
acknowledge the Guru’s superiority in whatever it is they are teaching you. A
direct way to state that they are above you in some regard.
There is nothing filthy, or profane about the Goddess’s feet for she is a pure
concept.
Look at Kali Ma-she is dancing on Lord Shiva’s chest right now!
He doesn’t seem to mind;-)”
He looks asleep or dead to me.  I guess that’s why he doesn’t mind!

Some people may question why I would investigate Hinduism and other religions for a blog that is unabashedly Pagan.  The reason is because Paganism is eclectic.  Even Wicca, that little subset, is eclectic.  Many Pagans have taken ideas and deities that they like from different religions and made them their own.  Gardner took many, many idea from the Hindu religion and made them Wiccan.  This was brought home to me one time at a handfasting that I attended.  The handfasting was at a public park, and an Indian couple stopped by to watch the rite from afar.  Once I spied them, I motioned for them to come closer and join in the fun.  After the ceremony, all they could talk about was how similar the handfasting ritual was to their own Hindu marriage ceremony that they had had in India.  The ritual planners hadn’t set out to borrow Hindu customs, but because they had gone with a status-quo Wiccan ceremony they had done so anyway due to Gardner’s original borrowing.

In the above quotes, the answerer discusses how bowing and touching one’s head to someone else’s feet is seen as an act of humility and respect to teachers and deities.  This practice is called Pranama.  It’s often part of the custom of darshan, which means to “see with reverence and devotion,” where not only does the one touching their forehead look to connect with divinity, the one who’s feet are being touch often bestows a blessing.  This is done in connection with puja, which could be described as a Hindu worship service or ritual.
In some British Traditional and Gardnerian covens, especially ones that adhere to The Ardanes, coven members are expected to show respect to the High Priestess by bowing, sometimes to the point of their head connecting with feet.  As in Hinduism, it’s a sign of respect.  I also know of many groups that will bow to the elements and deities when they are welcomed in or invoked in circle.  Some groups also have their members bow low to a person who is representing or aspecting a deity, especially if a blessing is being bestowed.